Objectives and Purposes
The recent COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated how important universal access to high-speed, reliable broadband and a connected device is for work, education, healthcare, and civic participation. Access to high-quality broadband should no longer be considered a luxury. Essential government services, educational and economic opportunities, business services, telemedicine, public safety, and staying connected with family and friends are all increasingly reliant on broadband networks. While many Nevadans are unable to access the Internet due to lack of connectivity infrastructure, others are unable to access the Internet because they cannot afford it or do not have a computer or laptop. We cannot afford to leave any community, rural or urban, behind as we work to close the digital divide.
The objective of the High Speed Nevada Initiative is universal access to modern broadband infrastructure that provides all Nevadans at their home or business access to an affordable, reliable, and scalable high-speed internet connection. While the federal government has allocated significant funds for broadband, needs in Nevada are also significant due to our geography, rough terrain, the remoteness of our population centers, and the lack of modern broadband infrastructure. The High Speed Nevada Initiative will combine federal, State, local, and private funding to begin to close the digital divide in Nevada and bring 21st Century infrastructure to every part of the state. The State will use available funds to invest in long-term, life-changing infrastructure assets that will benefit Nevadans in their homes, schools, and places of business for years to come.
Expansion of Middle Mile Infrastructure in Nevada & The Nevada Middle Mile Network
The objective of the Nevada Middle Mile Network Project is to directly support recovery from the COVID-19 public health emergency by building the infrastructure necessary to provide affordable, reliable, scalable internet to communities in Nevada that have been underserved. The capital assets built through this project will work to correct inequities in access to critical education and health services, and provide Nevadans in these communities with modern, long-term, scalable internet access. The sole objective of building interconnectivity infrastructure linking rural unserved population centers with Internet Exchange facilities is to provide affordable and scalable Internet to households.
In developing the High Speed Nevada Initiative, the Nevada Governor’s Office of Science, Innovation and Technology undertook a detailed analysis of the availability of broadband infrastructure in the State. OSIT discovered that a significant deterrent to the deployment of high-speed, affordable, scalable last-mile residential, business and Community Anchor Institutions (schools, universities, libraries, healthcare providers, public safety, government, community centers, etc.) was the lack of middle mile infrastructure.
Middle mile infrastructure is fiber optic based broadband infrastructure that traverses major Interstate and US Highways in a state. It passes by rural population centers and through rural areas terminating in cities like Las Vegas and Reno. In cities such as Las Vegas and Reno (and Los Angeles, Portland, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, San Francisco and Seattle) major data centers/interconnect facilities exist that are on ramps to the Commodity Internet with access to the World Wide Web.
A lack of middle mile infrastructure in a region can result in both limited options and high costs for last mile broadband service providers to access high speed fiber-based transport services to access Commodity Internet Access and Commodity Peering Services. For residential and business consumers, this can often mean lower speeds and bandwidth, higher monthly service costs, and fewer service providers offering service in a given area.
The Nevada Middle Mile Network
To address this need for middle mile infrastructure in Nevada, OSIT will create the Nevada Middle Mile Network. The Nevada Middle Mile Network will be made up of two distinct projects that will create a single network spanning from Reno/Carson to Las Vegas.
- The Interstate 80 Route – United States Department of the Treasury – Capital Project Fund. OSIT will use $76.6 million of its Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund (CPF) funding to design, build, operate and maintain a buried, multi-duct route that spans the entirety of Interstate 80 in Nevada between mile-marker 0 at the Utah/Nevada border to mile marker 410.67 at the California/Nevada Border. The build is entirely in the Interstate 80 Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) Right of Way.
- The Eastern Nevada Middle Mile (Eastern Route) - National Telecommunications and Information Agency (NTIA) Middle Mile Grant Program. The State of Nevada has applied for and received a $43.5 million NTIA middle mile grant, matched by $43.5 million in State funds, to design, build, operate and maintain a buried, multi-innerduct route from a major Internet Exchange in Las Vegas (7135 S. Decatur Blvd, Las Vegas, NV, United States) to an interconnect point at Interstate 80 in Wells, NV (577 Wells Ave, Wells, NV 89835). This route follows Interstate 15 to the US Route 93 interchange in eastern Clark County and then along US 93 Route from Interstate 15 North to Wells, NV. The route is expected to be placed entirely within the NDOT Right of Way.
OSIT is seeking to obtain detailed proposals from and select a single private-sector middle mile fiber marketing and broadband infrastructure construction partner. The RFP for this opportunity is posted here. Questions about Middle Mile in Nevada can directed to email@example.com